Chambers Becomes First Woman to Conquer Golden Gate Bridge Swim

Hello again!

Now happens to be a particularly busy time in the pool, as long course season and all of the championship meets have come to a close. At the Fina World Championships in Kazan, Russia,10-year-old Alzain Tareq from Bahrain became the youngest swimmer to ever compete, and Katie Ledecky became the first swimmer to win the 200 through 1500 freestyle at an international competition. But, on August 7th and 8th, while the world was busy watching Kazan and the national championships in San Antonio, Texas, 38 year old distance swimmer Kimberley Chambers braved the notorious 30 miles between Farallon Islands and the Golden Gate Bridge. She burst into tears as she reached her goal and the boat containing her mother and about 16 other crew members, the first woman following four men to accomplish the feat. Chambers described the difficulties of her journey, including the “living room of great white sharks,” the unpredictable weather, and her wave of sickness in the middle of the night when she couldn’t “keep any food down.” Since she needed to have food and water every 30 minutes in order to keep swimming, Chambers was worried that all of her hard work would be for nothing when she couldn’t eat. But both the crew on deck and fans like myself back home were rooting for her, and she swam through it.

Interestingly, Kimberley Chambers was not always a swimmer. The New Zealand-born, San Francisco resident was a former ballerina and rower before turning to distance swimming in 2009 to restore her leg after a life-threatening injury. She also became the sixth person to ever complete the Oceans Seven Challenge, a grueling seven-swim event spanning the Catalina Channel, the Moloka’i Channel, the North Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the English Channel, the Tsugaru Strait, and the Cook Strait. But after her 17-hour and 12-minute swim from Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge just a few days ago, Chambers, claimed that this was the “toughest swim in the world.” Personally, I am extremely impressed with her achievements. Chambers’ coach had attempted the swim the week before, and he needed to stop when a great white shark came near him! Imagine the bravery, determination, and self-confidence that fueled her to plunge into the same waters that had threatened her trainer. “I’m completely overwhelmed,” she said to CBS News. “This is something I’ve wanted for so long and I can’t believe I did it.” Congratulations to Kim Chambers for joining four other men who can say that they have endured the 30-mile shark-infested stretch to the Golden Gate Bridge! I believe that she is an amazing example of the power of women.

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